All posts by Patti Renner

Six Tips to Cross-Channel Bliss

Your audience is savvy, using an array of devices, gadgets and “things” to engage with your brand or company. When you consider the volume of data that’s available – that might soon be accessible – it’s enough to blow your mind. Marketers need to be concerned with issues of reach, yet this also drives the need of consistency and real relevance across touch points and channels. It’s impressive that the interest identified on the website can inform a display ad, followed by an email offer and even a direct-mail coupon thanks to digital marketing hub advancements. Get it right and it’s a moment of wonder and awe, as if your brand universe aligns around the customer (cue choirs of angels singing) for a fantastic experience. But it takes some planning and investment to get there.

To support you in your journey toward cross-channel bliss, here are six steps to get you moving in the right direction. The key is to unite your data around a common goal – happy customers who support your brand.

  1. Start with what you’ve got. Do an audit of what data you have and where it lives. What are you collecting right now? If people sign up for emails, what fields are included in the form? Do you track purchase history by customer name or ID? Do you ask gender or category preferences? What about web search activity? Call center details? Get a list together so you can see what you have, and what you may be missing that could be helpful to your messaging.
  2. Build a team. Bring together people from across your internal silos, working together to move things forward as you centralize your data. With so many projects and tasks, the best way to keep things on track is with cross-company involvement. Team members should have authority or responsibility over a specific channel or data source so there’s ownership in the decisions being made across the organization, especially as priorities shift toward an integrated data approach. You’ll want both their brains and their buy-in on this.
  3. Map out customer personas. Your data integration has a single purpose – to better serve and engage your customer. This can be difficult to do if you’re not sure who you’re selling to. See how the data you have can support the buyer/customer across their entire customer journey. Consider different situations when people buy from you. Chart out the steps a sample persona prospect may take as they are introduced to your brand or services. Then see what type of data can be collected and leveraged to make each of those experiences terrific.
  4. Investigate the details. Be the Sherlock Holmes of the customer journey, then smooth and improve any rough spots you discover along the way. As you piece together your data, look for trends. Spend time on the stories behind the numbers. Ask yourself “why” things are happening as they are instead of focused on the “how.”
  5. Reduce friction with facts. Use your data to identify real issues. Is there a falling off point along the path to conversion or checkout? Are your email campaigns doing well, but activity off of purchase confirmation emails is weak? Do people click through to the home page but jump off without browsing deeper into the site? Does your strategy include ways to engage them before they get away? These can indicate a point of friction on the path to conversion.
  6. Work together.Not only do you need to be working together within your organization to establish shared priorities to pull your data together, you also can work with partners specializing in Data Management to both educate and support you along the way.
    There are resources available to you when you’re ready to put your ideas into action.

DMP Alchemy: Improving Lead Generation Quality with the Data You Own

As Glengary Glen Ross tells us, leads are gold. While so much of marketing has to do with grabbing the attention of an audience, what actually matters more is connecting with the right individuals within that audience – especially those who are open to eventual conversion.  Harvesting leads isn’t enough if you’re not attracting the right prospects, which is the paradox of modern lead-generation strategy. Contrary to more recent strategies, quantity of content does not create quality of leads. It takes understanding to guide the alignment of content. At the center of marketing alchemy is the ability to use the data you already own within your DMP with real-time relevance.
 
Here are some suggestions to get started:
 
Content Alignment: Identify consistent patterns of specific customer segments. Then align your content, messaging and offers around that specific audience.  For instance, you probably have basic customer segments identified. Look at the data for each to identify trends. Are there similar page views on the website prior to conversion? Are their page views or search activities that are common to those who landed on the site but did not convert? Are prospects who consume one topic versus another more likely to follow a specific conversion path or timeline? For instance, people who need it now versus those who prefer to do their homework and take their time may require a different messaging approach based on those behaviors.
 
Linking with POS: A great place to start is using your purchase history data to influence messaging and content presented, including the cadence of those messages. Have the data from your POS system feed into a DMP so an individual customer’s purchase history can be used to inform content for their future emails, ads and offers. This simple approach to personalized content shows a deeper level of customer love, allowing for a more strategic approach that can result in meaningful ROI increase. Suggestion: Tailor content to suggest companion products, accessories, plus other details to maintain that post-purchase connection with your audience.
 
Using Location: With geographic segments, you can highlight regional interests and images in your campaigns. Consider infusing something as simple as weather information to promote relevant climate-related products and content. It’s about relevance. You can also take things a step deeper with geolocation data, marketing based on proximity to meaningful locations, different communications for in-store versus at home engagement, and so on. Getting outside the box and putting yourself in the consumer’s shoes at that moment can take current location into account to deliver interesting results. Suggestion: Test everything. If you know a particular region is experiencing a weather-related event, your lead generation approach and images can reflect such details.
 
Niche Targeting (and Re-Targeting): Having all your data in a profile-based DMP environment where information can be stored for both known and anonymous users means you have data which can be used to better communicate with each individual in your audience. Instead of the broader strokes of content alignment mentioned earlier, this is more using a fine brush to reflect specific known details – even of those not yet identified as a known lead. 
 
Distilling gold from what otherwise could be content chaos requires the smart use of data. Start small. Keep it simple at first. A few nuggets of understanding can lead to a rush of relevance in the way you engage your audiences to attract more prospects. Consider what data you have, then look for ways to use it as you add to it, supported by integrated technology to remove the complexity and provide real results.

I Love You, But You Don’t Know My Name: Personalizing the Customer Experience

As each year ticks by, consumer expectations increase when it comes to the depth of personalization of the brand experience. Many brands are doing their best to keep up, using customer data to identify key points of interaction to ramp up the customer love in fits and starts. While this is well intended and perhaps better than nothing (albeit worthy of an A/B test of no personalization versus limited personalization), it still begs for a more consistent approach.

But how do you introduce personalized consistency into a cross-channel mesh – and mess – of interactions?

Some suggestions:

  • Start with the audience you’re trying to reach and design your content strategy around them. Demonstrate that you know them by embracing your target personas as part of your “customer family.” Get intimate with who they are, what they do, what they think, what keeps them up at night, what makes them laugh. Find images of persona people (or a fair representation) and paste them on the walls of your office. Name them, nurture them, be inspired by them. Advisory groups and qualitative data can help.
  • Look at your core two or three audiences and map out the typical customer journey for each. Use that at a starting point to simplify the moments that matter. As you continue to advance in the use of data in an effort to grease the funnel, you can prevent the impression of fits and starts by mapping out and tackling one journey at a time. Even if you can’t do everything right away, you can at least allow for consistency across specific audiences. Start with the ones that matter most to your success.
  • Analyze the data you own for the most important “moments of truth.” Optimize those points of engagement first when it comes to effective messaging and customizing of cross-channel content.

You know more than you did a year ago about most of your core audiences. Take action on those insights and assumptions knowing that the use of a data management platform (DMP) with cross-channel integration can make easy work of something that’s become increasingly complex. It’s the fusion of science into the art of marketing to bring the brand experience to life for your audiences, and bringing your audiences to life for your brand.

Review of Forrester’s 2015 DMP Wave Update

Did you see the latest 2015 update to the Forrester Wave on Data Management Platforms (DMPs)? No? Maybe that’s because they decided to bury it inside a different piece of research. (It’s a classic case of burying the lede.) In what could be a detailed analysis of the current offerings (including their differences) in the marketplace, they instead provide a brief update focusing on similarities through the lens of measurement. We like to think of it as a handy shortlist of leading DMP options, not as detailed as a traditional Wave, but nice to have all the same.

You can see for yourself here.

DMP update critique aside, the report is one of the most thorough and well-written pieces of content to come out of Forrester in some time (and believe me, I read them all). In addition to the DMP update, you find a treasure-trove of detail on the current state of marketing measurement.

My personal takeaways:

  • Here’s something we’ve been talking about for years which Forrester now validates: Marketers all measure (at some level of sophistication), but few measure the right things. Very few marketers currently tie display and search exposure into their attribution, looking only at the views most convenient instead of those most complete. I love the concept of “measurement nirvana” introduced in the report. There’s even a quiz to self-assess you measurement maturity – helpful!

 

  • Technology has caught up (more or less), so now it seems that it’s the brands themselves stunting the growth toward marketing maturity. Culture, organization, data and technology are the four areas Forrester mentions as roadblocks to reaching full measurement potential. In other words, marketers have reason to respond with “It’s not me, it’s you” when having internal discussions. (Note that the report provides practical advice on how to break through those roadblocks to advance to the next level, which is also nice.)

 

  • There are three types of metrics that marketing leaders need to be concerned about. If they can nail those three areas, they’ll look like rock stars. But to do so, you need to measure your messaging and your media more holistically and efficiently, which requires a robust DMP solution to handle the end-to-end customer-centric view. Connect, converse, convince, convert then stay connected– each point needs to synch with data and feedback loops for relevance across devices and points of interaction in real time. (It’s already happening – are you there yet?)

 

  • Call them silos or swim lanes… the fact is that most organizations collect and measure data as if the customer journey follows a straight path. It doesn’t. People bounce all over and your internal alignment needs to support that fact.

 

  • Most shocking stat: “More than half of marketers are using deeply flawed attributive measurement — or none at all — in spite of employing multiple media buys and channels. And our most recent survey of digital marketers indicates that fewer than 10% use algorithmic attribution.”

Analysts Susan Bidel and Richard Joyce did a fantastic job in providing useful, in-depth analysis of the current state of marketing measurement, down to providing hands-on tips for the marketing leader. It’s really great stuff. Check it out.

RESOURCES:

AdAge: Get a DMP Reality Check (February 2015)

Forrester Research Inc.: “Measurement Is A Digital Media Buyer’s Best Friend” (January 26, 2015)

Gartner: Magic Quadrant for Digital Marketing Hubs (December 2014)

IgnitionOne & Netmining: The Big Book of Digital Marketing (January 2015)

The Future of Connected Consumer Conversations

As digital marketers, we are in the early innings of a whole new ballgame. Forrester Research calls it the Age of the Customer. I like to think of it as the era of Connected Consumer Conversations.

Behind the ability to link points of consumer-brand interaction is the ability to integrate marketing technologies as well as disparate data stores; however, getting to that level of integration – one that’s real-time and seamless enough to create the elements of a perceived conversation versus a campaign – remains a cloudy challenge for most marketers. So many touted technologies become integration projects instead integrated solutions.

But it’s early.

Not that long ago, brand strategy was based on messages pushed out to market where salespeople were the sole gatekeepers to product information. If you wanted details about an item, you had to get in touch with a salesperson or read a brand-provided brochure. Your perspective (the entire brand relationship) was shaped and controlled almost entirely by the company. Today that simply isn’t the case. With the abundance of content available online (details, videos, pins, reviews, forums, and more) and the adoption of smart phones to access product information at anytime from anywhere, the customer now takes control of the brand-buyer relationship. Overall, marketers have risen to the occasion, taking an omni-channel approach to make sure all the bases (and possible points of consumer interaction) are covered.

Unfortunately, this isn’t enough.

Now that the customer is in control, their expectations are quite high. While to some marketers “personalization” meant including the person’s first name token in a subject line, today it’s about relevance. Individuals want to be treated as such. “Show me you know me” is the gauntlet. Marketers must respond, armed with data and insights for a deeper understanding as well as the ability to execute on that understanding in real time to provide the level of engagement consumers now expect.

Omni-channel isn’t enough because it actually may be too broad. A better approach is to use your understanding of your audiences and connect specifically with them where they are in a manner that resonates, supporting both your brand promise and your customers’ needs in the moment.

It’s no longer about campaigns. Instead, it’s about having a coordinated marketing approach across touch points – from that first display impression to all interactions that follow. In fact, we’re hosting a special webinar on the topic on Wednesday, December 1st. We’ll take a deep dive into what these connected conversations look like, as well as provide you with specific tactics to get it right.

Get the registration details here: www.digitalmarketingsuite.com/webinar.

IgnitionOne Earns Top Ranking in Latest Marketing Technology Research

Late last week, the analysts at Gigaom released an analysis of a wide range of marketing-technology platforms. Gigaom Research is an independent publisher of expert industry insights on emerging markets, including in-depth coverage and analysis of relevant topics – particularly those related to media, technology and consumer behavior.

In their “Sector Roadmap: digital-marketing platforms” report, IgnitionOne receives the top ranking. You can access a copy of the research here: http://digitalmarketingsuite.com/reports/gigaom/

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Recognizing that marketers need more than just point solutions to stay relevant in today’s digital world, Gigaom examined six leading marketing technology providers to determine which would best meet the needs of today’s cross-channel orchestrated campaigns.

The report’s author, David Card, noted IgnitionOne’s capabilities stood out: “of the companies we examined, IgnitionOne…align[s] best with the trends we deemed most critical,” according to the report.

We earned high marks for the variety of capabilities in our Digital Marketing SuiteSM (DMS) that allow for portfolio optimization, social media advertising optimization, and its customer acquisition and targeting capabilities. The report goes on to say “IgnitionOne is well suited as a marketing technology platform for multichannel, multi-objective advertisers…”.

Our placement and involvement in this report highlights our emphasis on innovation and leadership in the advertising and marketing technology space. In a very crowded and fragmented landscape, IgnitionOne continues to raise the bar for the industry. We look forward to continuing to disrupt the industry with best-in-class technology and an emphasis on simplicity to make things easier and more efficient for marketers.

Read more about the report here, and get your copy of the report here.